To stay afloat, cancer patients in the US need a “financial navigator”

A cancer diagnosis in the United Stated is so costly, on so many different aspects, that a new professional figure of “financial navigator” is emerging, to manage all the issues that so far have been partially followed by medical or administrative staff, often without realising how crucial it is for patients to receive the right information at the right time, and how deeply it can affect outcomes.

According to an analysis by the US Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) – that has recently published its guidelines for Financial Advocacy Services – the average monthly cost of cancer-related therapies has more than doubled in the last decade, in a situation in which each and every patient has to to deal with different rules and reimbursement schemes.

That’s why, in order to attenuate the “side effect” known as financial toxicity, a professional figure might help: “Over the past 10 years, the role of financial navigator has emerged within cancer care. While some facilities have dedicated financial navigators, there are lots of people who are playing this role within a hospital or cancer center or oncology practice, like nurses and social workers,” explains Clara Lambert, chair of the ACCC financial advocacy network advisory committee.

Elsewhere in the world the challenges are likely to be different, but health insurances, reimbursements and regulations are getting more and more complicated as the cost of care increases: cancer care providers might appreciate the help of experts able to discuss with the patients all the possibilities they have, and discuss with them case by case, through the continuum of care.

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